Buckle up, this is going to be a long read.
1. The Problems -
Accepting the fact that there are problems is a great way to start solving them. Being ignorant does no good. Although it is easy to just turn your face other way or even just turn your back and be completely blind, it is much more costly as the problems tend to get worse over time. And no one cares until it stabs them in the back and affects them personally. So, what are the problems? There are two types of problems we face today. A, the age long historical problems that the people living back then turned their back onto and made them the monsters they are today and B, new age problems occurring because we are trying to fit new ideas and ideologies in the pre-existing problem filled system.
A. The Historical Problems - We did not create these, we do not add to them but we also don’t care enough to solve them. These are wars, religion funded terrorism, extremism, expansionism, anti-nationalism. We are kids compared to the age of these problems. As long as humanity has existed, these problems have tortured us. But the worst thing is that we common people cannot do anything about them. It's the system, the world order, basic greedy human tendencies and the abusive use of power by people in position that fuel these problems even today. Can people like you and me solve these problems? Of course not, because these problems are not tangible to our daily lives. We city dwellers in our AC homes never feel the wrath of these problems. We are aware, however, that these are problems and that they need to be fixed, but not us, we cannot fix them. The international diplomacies and pseudo-governments that run the problem causing countries have way fewer people working in it than the number of victims. So why can’t we common people solve these problems? Because we know the world was like this before we were even born. We have seen it as a norm. We feel it is something that will continue to exist after we die. Until humans all over the world get into some psychological group therapies and schools that teach compassion, these problems cannot be solved. Another solution is to wait until these old people die and are replaced slowly by rational and forward thinking young people. In simple worlds, until a single world government or something similar is formed or we somehow establish total world peace, these problems will continue to exist.
B. New Age Problems - Racism, suicides, mob lynching, global warming, animal abuse, domestic violence, rapes, murders, political lobbying, moral policing, bullying, unemployment, infant mortalities, child marriages, forced labor, child labor and lots and lots of small problems that occur daily all around us everywhere. No matter where you live, in a city or in a village, in a poor country in Africa or in a developed country like Japan or Sweden. It is astonishing that these problems exist in the so called modern society we live in today. It really questions all our progress when we read about a brutal rape in newspaper. It questions our development as a society when we hear about parents who kill their only child for doing love marriage. It questions the society we live in when we see crowds of violent brainless mobs lynching someone to death. These are the problems that we cannot turn our back to. These are the problems solvable by us. Because they are created by us, we common citizens living in the society. Obviously not everyone is a criminal but you never know about the person sitting right next to you in your office cubicle. Is he a rapist? Is she a psychopath? Does my boss spit on roads? Do my children waste water? Does my husband throw wrappers on road? You never know!
2. The Tried Solutions –
Are we even trying though? No one has yet figured out the magical cure for global warming. Yet we dump millions of tons of carbon into the air. There are a few who try. NGOs who raise awareness against child labor. Teachers in school who teach moral values that are out of syllabus. Government officials who truly use their power for the betterment of society. But these are really small. No NGO can go door to door and person to person to teach him not to rape or murder someone. It is not even feasible as a solution. The best solution is the system. We have considered that every human who is born is automatically a part of the system. That he has to abide by the system’s rules and breaking them would be punishable. But this is not a preemptive solution, it is just to scare citizens from doing wrong. Does it work? Yes, somewhat. It is far better than having nothing to curb the animal instincts of some people.
About the older problems, the solutions can never be simple. Because if they were, we would have implemented them by now. The age old problems are complex and intricate. Solving one can lead to incite another. We will get there when we get there. About new age problems, like I said, they really are solvable! And magically, the cure for all of these new age problems is just one simple solution.
3. Individualism –
I am not here to spread propaganda about yet another ideology that would take the world by storm. Individualism is an old concept. But I might add or reduce from the original idea. This is my version of individualism that suits today’s modern society.
1. The habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant.
2. A social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control.
This is the Oxford dictionary meaning of individualism. But as usual, I will start talking about individualism from the beginning.
If you have read my thoughts on religion, you would know how we evolved to live in this world and call it a “society”. And really, if we think about it, being in a society or a country is really the main problem here. If we all were to live like predators like lions and tigers in small groups or even individually, all of our age old problems vanish. No boundaries of countries, no gods, no religions, no moral code to break. There will be just pure natural violence, which is justifiable because it would be for survival. And of course we do not follow cannibalisms anyway so going out of our way to harm another human being would make no sense. Yay! A perfect peaceful world! But it’s not really beneficial to our super developed brain, is it? We have got the biggest brain in the animal kingdom. We cannot afford to go back to our natural ways. We no longer live in the earth that all these plants and animals live in. We live in a human world. Humans are social animals, not by nature, but we are told we are. And it really is befitting to form a society to make progress, even if it is unnatural. No other life form on this planet has formed a society. But they have not progressed anyway, so, less competition for us.
So there is no way around society. But then why doesn’t a perfect utopian society exist? We have all the ideas to make it work. Why is it so hard to implement then? Because it all comes back to the unit of society. A person is the basic unit of society. People come together to form a community and communities together form a society. The individual person is so random that it is not possible to predict the behavior of the society as a whole. And that’s where the problems arise. Problem causing is done on the individual level but problem solving is implemented on the society as a whole.
Individualism is shunned because people think it will remove all the good restrictions society puts on a person and the person will then abuse his freedom, because of his animal instincts. But we have to take all that is good about individualism and curb all that is bad about individualism by applying societal order. Today, new age problems arise because there is a clash between individualism and society. People want individualism, yet they don’t want to leave the safety net society provides. Someone has to compromise. Can individualism compromise? Definitely not! In my opinion, an individual has more value than the society it lives in. An individual has more worth than the code and values of the society. Because society is made up of individuals, society as a whole has no meaning without individuals. Yet, today, society has become the aggressor. Society has become more valuable. We find it completely acceptable to lynch a person or kill a couple in love because that is what society agrees on.
People need to identify themselves as a part of a bigger group. The group is always larger than life for them. Be it a religion, a village level society, a political party or an ideology. People are really dumb. They cannot think about themselves, they cannot think for themselves. They need someone to preach them a code of conduct, a moral support or a higher divine being to guide them through life. Why? Why can’t people use their brains? Is it that difficult to think? It is! Because they are not taught how to. Schools and the education system as a whole really fails here. Only if everyone was aware about themselves, everyone realized how the next person is just as worthy as they are, rapes and murders will completely stop. Racism and hatred and bullying will be vanished. Is it that difficult to see a person as a person and not as a part of a particular group, community, society, race, ideology? For people who are dying, and I mean they literally die or kill to identify themselves with something greater than them, can never see a person as a person. They themselves feel belittled when addressed personally and not as a member of something they want to be identified with.
Human race collectively needs to educate itself. It really needs to forcefully teach itself compassion, empathy and self worth of an individual. We need to imbibe in infants and young minds that their brain is their own. Their brain is for them to use, not to be influenced by communal leaders, political propagandists or religious messengers. A day when true individualism will be followed would be a day the world gets rid of racism, suicides, mob lynching, global warming, animal abuse, domestic violence, rapes, murders, moral policing, bullying, child marriages, forced labor, child labor and all of the new age problems. Because then, the society would be new.
You are a whole person. You have a body, a mind, a heart and most importantly a brain. Use it. You have only got this one life. Don’t waste trying to fit into a group. Become self reliant in terms of thinking. And if you really need an anchor or a guiding path, the code of the society is more than enough. Because then that new society and its code will be made of self-aware individuals.